Elektrobit and TomTom partnership to accelerate safe automated driving
Automated driving (AD) will lead to a future of safer highways, cleaner cities and more free time. Before then, TomTom and Elektrobit (EB) are working today to combine their expertise and accelerate the map technologies needed for AD.
TomTom provides the detailed high definition (HD) maps for Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) and AD; Elektrobit integrates this with its EB robinos Predictor software to communicate the data to ADAS electric control units (ECUs), domain control units (DCUs) and multi-domain controllers (MDCs). By pre-integrating, TomTom and EB speed up development times whilst offering a mature solution for carmakers and AD system developers.
Technologies that scale from basic ADAS to automated driving
Today, carmakers face the challenge of building a new software architecture that serves different product needs and can scale across their vehicle line-up. There is a growing need for complementary technologies that meet multiple requirements, including the following:
- In a few years, most new cars will be equipped with “basic ADAS” applications to satisfy requirements for NCAP vehicle safety ratings, Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) legislation and Predictive Cruise Control to increase efficiency and potentially counter CO2 emission tariffs.
- Mid-range vehicles will include more enhanced ADAS features, as well as embedded navigation.
- Lastly, in the coming years we will see the most sophisticated ADAS and AD functions appear in higher-value vehicle segments before trickling down into the mass market.
Whilst TomTom and Elektrobit focus on the most advanced SAE L2-3 ADAS-AD segment for now, their technologies can easily be adapted to serve many other ADAS functions in a scalable manner.
Through their ongoing collaboration, the two companies have developed an industry-first High Definition (HD) map horizon for automated driving. It provides vehicles with a precise virtual picture of the road ahead, enhancing safety and efficiency.
TomTom HD Map data is delivered via the TomTom AutoStream service. AutoStream efficiently delivers the latest HD Map data using a sophisticated tiling scheme, and only provides what is relevant for the specific AD function and vehicle location. The AutoStream client software can be extended with the ADASIS v3 compliant software from Elektrobit. ADASIS v3 is designed to convey HD Map data with lane-level accuracy. While ADASIS v2 only describes a road as a single line with attributes, the ADASIS v3 protocol can depict lane-level geometries of the road surface. Last week, the public release of ADASIS v3.1 for the Automotive industry was announced, implying the specification can be requested by non-ADASIS members also.
ADASIS is the standardized interface for communicating digital map data across the car network to ADAS ECUs, DCUs and MDCs. The software from Elektrobit is called EB robinos Provider and uses the HD Map data to deliver accurate and up-to-date information about the road ahead for ADAS and AD functions.
Latest joint release expands functionality and geo coverage
With the most recent software release (November 2020), the combined TomTom AutoStream and EB robinos Predictor software has improved in many ways:
- Users now enjoy expanded geographical coverage, meaning that clients and prospects can evaluate the product across North America, as well as key automotive markets in Europe, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
- Additional map features and ADASIS v3 profiles such as tunnels, localization signs, overtaking restrictions and special situations are supported to feed AD applications.
- Lastly, map data delivery has been improved in such a way that TomTom can continue to add geographical coverage without any additional integration work. This means that the EB robinos Predictor software automatically incorporates additional geographical coverage (without the need for an update) whenever TomTom expands its HD Map coverage.
How the joint technology interacts
In their reference implementation, TomTom and Elektrobit use TomTom’s AutoStream map delivery system, feeding the map data into the EB robinos Provider. The EB robinos provider predicts the upcoming driving path by considering the current vehicle position, driving conditions and road data. In the future, the calculated route of an embedded navigation system could also be considered.
Based on the calculated path, it will create the map horizon tree out of the HD Map data. Depending on the predicted paths, multiple trees are generated, so that an up-to-date HD map horizon can seamlessly be provided should the vehicle leave its current path.
The map data is then provided by the EB robinos Provider as an ADASIS-compliant data structure to all attached ADAS ECUs, DCUs and MDCs. Within each ADAS ECU, DCU or MDC, the EB robinos Reconstructor receives, de-serializes and reassembles the data structure for storage and processing. The Reconstructor is highly modular with a low-system footprint to fulfill the needs of all ECUs.
Evaluation options TomTom AutoStream and ADASIS v3
Through their joint effort, TomTom and Elektrobit offer convenient ways to implement an ADASIS v3 compliant HD map horizon. Via either partner, evaluation toolkits for an ADASIS v3 provider and ADASIS v3 reconstructor, are available for research and development purposes.
Dirk DiekhoffHead of Partner Management, Elektrobit
What’s next for the TomTom and Elektrobit collaboration
In the coming years, Elektrobit and TomTom will continue to collaborate to accelerate the development of digital map technologies for safe ADAS and AD. This will lead to mutual synergies for both companies and important benefits for carmakers, allowing them to harness a pre-integrated and industry-first HD map horizon for their AD functions.
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